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Over ten years ago, the Bethune Library near USC decamped for a new facility on Western Avenue.  Now the property it left behind is poised for a new mixed-use development.

The Los Angeles City Council voted last week to enter into an exclusive negotiating agreement with an entity known as NCNvision, LLC for the construction of a residential-retail project at 3685 S. Vermont Avenue.

Under the proposed agreement, the former library site would be sold by CRA/LA to NCNVision partners Nvision Studios and National CORE at fair market value to facilitate the development of mixed-income housing with retail space.  Plans call for a pair of mid-rise structures that would contain 52 units of market-rate housing, 45 units of workforce housing, 17 units of affordable housing, ground-floor retail, and space to be occupied by the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI).

Nvision and CORE, in partnership with Capri Investment Group, have proposed a privately-financed development, according to Nvision Chief Executive Office Mike Echols.  The project - which has a nearly 50/50 split between market rate and affordable units - benefits from a nearby Expo Line station, which makes the project site eligible for development incentives through the Transit Oriented Communities guidelines.

The partnership with LACI is incorporated into the Bethune Center's design.  The smaller of the two buildings is proposed as a "passive energy" facility, in which amenities such as solar panels reduce energy consumption by 75 to 95 percent.  LACI, in addition to hosting some start-up and established portfolio companies within the building, will also monitor heat and energy use for the property.

The project also calls for an activated rooftop space, including a restaurant and a 10,000-square-foot urban farm.  While the restaurant will operate a portion of the farm, the remaining space would be used for commercial purposes.  Echols described the space as an opportunity to bring urban farming skills to South Los Angeles.

Nvision and CORE hope to file for the Bethune Center's entitlements by summer 2018, kicking off a 12-to-18-month approval period.  After receiving sign-offs from the City of Los Angeles, construction would occur over approximately two years - placing a completion date sometime in 2021 or 2022.

Rendering of the Bethune Center. Image courtesy of Nvision Studio.
Rendering of the Bethune Center. Image courtesy of Nvision Studio.
Rendering of the Bethune Center. Image courtesy of Nvision Studio.
3685 S. Vermont Avenue. Image via Google Maps.